Piecemeal or combined? Assessing greenhouse gas mitigation spillovers in US forest and agriculture policy portfolios

Climate Policy
2019 19(10), 1270-1283


Forest and agricultural sector response to comprehensive climate policy is well represented in the literature. Less analysis has been devoted to piecemeal solutions. We use the Forest and Agriculture Sector Optimization Model with Greenhouse Gases (FASOMGHG) to project the individual and combined effect of three existing U.S. Department of Agriculture programmes with potential to increase greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation. We find that a combined policy scenario may achieve greater mitigation than individual constituent programmes, suggesting the possibility of complementary spillover effects in some periods. Mitigation varies over time, however, and some periods experience net emissions as markets and management practices respond to initial policy shocks. The regional distribution of GHG mitigation also varies between policy scenario. Differences in the magnitude and imputed cost of mitigation under each scenario, generating negative values for some programmes and time periods, reinforces the need to evaluate portfolio design to cost-effectively achieve near-term GHG mitigation.